Do You Need a License To Start a Business in New York?

by Fred Abramson on October 7, 2009 · 0 comments

So, you decided to take the plunge to start your own business.  You are probably wondering whether you need a license to set up shop.  There are many professions and businesses that require a unique license so that they could operate. For example, dentists, locksmiths, food processors and real estate agents all need licenses.  If you are in a profession that requires schooling, you probably know about the licensing requirements.

What Should You Do If You are Unsure of Whether You Need a License?

  1. Contact the Governor’s Office of Regulatory Reform.  They have a list of over 1000 businesses that require licenses.
  2. In New York City, contact the License Issue Division of Consumer Affairs.


If you are planning to open a retail or manufacturing business, you may need a permit to do so. For example, you would need a liquor license if you plan on opening a  bar.  If you need to do renovations to an existing space, you may need a building permit. Also, check to see if there are any restrictions regarding the type of sign you can display.  Some community boards in the City also restrict certain types of businesses, such as new restaurants.

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